It is by no means a prerequisite to be good at science to have an interest in science; space travel is considered a fascinating topic by many. Is there life beyond Earth? Will it ever be possible to inhabit another planet? NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory played into this fascination by creating a large set of posters, advertising the solar system’s planets as possible holiday destinations. Ever considered a trip to Mars? Or fancy seeing a double sunset at Kepler-16b? Even our own planet Earth is part of the advertising campaign – take a look and make sure to comment which planet would be your dream destination!
A selection of the posters:
This is actually going to happen a lot sooner than we might think; NASA is already planning a non-return mission to Mars by 2020. “NASA’s Mars Exploration Program seeks to understand whether Mars was, is, or can be a habitable world. Mission like Mars Pathfinder, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Science Laboratory and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, among many others, have provided important information in understanding of the habitability of Mars. This poster imagines a future day when we have achieved our vision of human exploration of Mars and takes a nostalgic look back at the great imagined milestones of Mars exploration that will someday be celebrated as “historic sites.””
Why would we ever want to leave? “There’s no place like home. Warm, wet and with an atmosphere that’s just right, Earth is the only place we know of with life – and lots of it. JPL’s Earth science missions monitor our home planet and how it’s changing so it can continue to provide a safe haven as we reach deeper into the cosmos.”
I don’t know about you, but this poster just looks out of this world (pun intended). Auroras and three moons – what more could you wish for? “The Jovian cloudscape boasts the most spectacular light show in the solar system, with northern and southern lights to dazzle even the most jaded space traveler. Jupiter’s auroras are hundreds of times more powerful than Earth’s, and they form a glowing ring around each pole that’s bigger than our home planet. Revolving outside this auroral oval are the glowing, electric “footprints” of Jupiter’s three largest moons. NASA’s Juno mission will observe Jupiter’s auroras from above the polar regions, studying them in a way never before possible.”
You might want to skip this one because of its icy temperature – unless you’d risk it for a presumably stunning view of a double-sunset… “Like Luke Skywalker’s planet “Tatooine” in Star Wars, Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars. Depicted here as a terrestrial planet, Kepler-16b might also be a gas giant like Saturn. Prospects for life on this unusual world aren’t good, as it has a temperature similar to that of dry ice. But the discovery indicates that the movie’s iconic double-sunset is anything but science fiction.”
A massive gravitational pull: wouldn’t that be interesting, dropping out of your rocket onto this planet; dropping anything in general really… “Twice as big in volume as the Earth, HD 40307g straddles the line between “Super-Earth” and “mini-Neptune” and scientists aren’t sure if it has a rocky surface or one that’s buried beneath thick layers of gas and ice. One thing is certain though: at eight times the Earth’s mass, its gravitational pull is much, much stronger.”
Like the poster says: last water stop for water until Jupiter! It’s almost like a roadtrip. But in space! “Ceres is the closest dwarf planet to the Sun. It is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, with an equatorial diameter of about 965 kilometers. After being studied with telescopes for more than two centuries, Ceres became the first dwarf planet to be explored by a spacecraft, when NASA’s Dawn probe arrived in orbit in March 2015. Dawn’s ongoing detailed observations are revealing intriguing insights into the nature of this mysterious world of ice and rock.”
Visit www.jpl.nasa.gov/visions-of-the-future/ to view all of the solar system adverts!